Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book #73

The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns. Paperback.

Stearns is the leader of World Vision, so he brings experience and knowledge to the discussion of world poverty. The book is a nce mix of cold facts and heart-rending stories.

The book has many memoir aspecs to it, as Stearns tells his life story. He was CEO of Lenox, the fine silverware manufacturer, before leaving that to run WorldVision. The juxtaposition of these two posts is made much of in the early part of the book. Stearn's own "conversion" of sorts, his awakening to the plight of the world's poor, is an effective through-line of the book.

Most of the book is a call to social action for Christians, a much-needed one for many in the evangerlical world. Protestants threw away everything related to Catholicism in the aftermath of the Reformation, no matter how good or bad what they threw out was. In the same way, Evangelicals threw away everything related to mainline liberalism over the last century. Among those things that were shed was a commitment to easing the physical suffering of the poor.

Stearns is a Bible-teaching evangelical, no doubt -- the book is loaded with Bible references, short and long, Old Testament and New. But he is willing to say that the modern American evangelical church has a "hole" in its Gospel, and that hole is caring for the poor and afflicted. And he gives practical tips on how we can help serve, with our treasure, time, and talent.

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